Chris Peterson was an 8th grader at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon. His brother, Matt, was a sophomore at Westfield High School. A report from the medical examiner says the boys and their parents, Albert and Kathleen Peterson, all died of gunshot wounds to the upper body.
Their bodies were found Tuesday morning at the family's home on Point Rider Lane in Herndon. Investigators believe 57-year-old Albert Peterson killed his family and then killed himself.
Co-workers grew concerned when a family member didn't show up for work. That is what prompted police to check on the home.
On Twitter Wednesday, one student wrote: "matt i will miss you dude you were so nice and funny."
At the Floris United Methodist Church, Reverend Tom Berlin says the Petersons were "dearly loved."
"Everyone who talks about this family says essentially the same thing: very active in the community, very welcoming in the neighborhood, a lot of fun to be with if you were sitting in the stands at a soccer stadium," says Rev. Tom Berlin. "They were very generous with their time. They had friends over to their home. Sometimes they took friends on vacation with them, so I am hearing from people who are really mystified because this has been a really great active family."
Berlin says the Petersons were at church this past Sunday morning. He also says the younger son, Chris, attended a student ministry event in recent weeks.
People that talked to FOX 5 about the family said they never saw any signs of trouble in the family.
The church will host a candlelight vigil Wednesday night.